On Saturday, September 23rd we spent a sun-drenched day enjoying the 2017 Greenwich Wine + Food Festival, presented by Serendipity Magazine. Held at Greenwich’s Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, the event introduces brands, restaurants, and foodies to each other via a day of demonstrations, workshops, and tastings. The day began with a Grand Tasting, where vendors offered samples of their best dishes. Restaurants and caterers from all over Connecticut presented innovative fresh flavors to the hungry guests. The dishes ranged from tacos to cupcakes, covering a wide range of tastes. One of our favorite bites of the day was Back 40 Kitchen’s delectable beef cheek taco.
In addition to street foods vendors also teased out palates with delicate gourmet offerings like crudo and crab salad. “The Restaurant’s” crab salad was bright and flavorful with a citrus finish and briny capers.
Beverage purveyors also participated in the grand tasting. One of our favorites of the day was Stella Artois, who brought with them gorgeous stemware and chilled beer on tap. The favorite of the day was the Cidre, a refreshing hard apple cider with effervescence and crisp apple flavor. Guests were invited to peruse the ingredients and learn more about the iconic Stella Artois glasses.
The Grand Tasting was only one of the day’s activities as guests sat in on panels, enjoyed workshops and watched masters at work in live demonstrations. We attended a whiskey and bourbon tasting workshop, sponsored by Woodford Reserve. The workshop paired bourbon and whiskey with familiar flavors like dark chocolate, honey, and cranberries. Each small bite awakened a different flavor in the spirits. Our biggest take away from the experience is that bourbon is far more complex than we could have imagined. The multitude of flavors captured within the beverage makes it an ideal vehicle for a wide range of cocktails and meal pairings.
After the tasting, we watched a demo from one our favorite Food Network stars, Mr. Adam Richman. Richman is best known as the charismatic star of Man Vs Food. He is also a cookbook author, his first book “Straight Up Tasty” is a fun easy collection of delicious meals Richman has gathered throughout his career.
Following the demo, we enjoyed the “Meet the Masters” panel. The panel was moderated by Kathy Lee Gifford and featured chefs Alex Guarnicelli, Scott Conant, Adam Richman and Mary Giuliani. The famous chefs regaled the crowd with childhood anecdotes and tales from their illustrious careers.
In addition to the food vendors, Empire City Casino’s was also on hand providing a fun risk-free gaming experience. Guests tried their hands at blackjack and three card poker while enjoying sampling and judging cocktails in the Bartender’s showdown. The day’s winners were: Juan Meyer from Eastend in Greenwich who won Judge’s Choice and Jamie Johel from Craft 14 Kitchen + Bar in Wilton the People’s Choice winner.
Just before the sunset guests, found their way to a tailgate party by the water’s edge, featuring delicious barbecue meats and a big burger competition. Winners of the Burger Battle were Hapa Food Truck for the Judge’s Choice award and Darien Butcher Shop the People’s Choice.
The eventful day came to a climactic end with a concert by Grammy Award-winning band Train who rocked the crowd with their hits including 2002 Grammy winner “Drops of Jupiter” and 2011’s “Hey Soul Sister”. Train provided an upbeat energetic end to a long day of celebrating food and spirits.
The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival isn’t just panels and tastings it is at its core a charitable event, providing assistance to multiple charities including the Mario Batali Foundation (main beneficiary), Greenwich Parks & Recreation Fund, Friends of James Beard Benefits.
For more information, head over to their website. We hope to see you there next year.